There are a few subjects I don’t like to write about. One of them is the bad things I used to do as a kid…a dumb kid. When I think about some of my youth’s “adventures” they seem like a movie. No, not a Mickey Rooney movie.
More like “Little Rascals meet the Bowery Boys.”
When I moved to Newport Beach thirty five years ago, I remember my first Halloween in California. Sometime around the third week in October I asked my neighbor when I should stop parking in the driveway and putting my car in the garage at night. I think I phrased the question like this: “When do they start halloweening around here?” He looked at me like I was nuts. I had to explain in my mid-western terms.
I said, “You know…corning, soaping and stickin’ horns.”
My neighbor said, “Dan, I’ve lived here all my life. I’ve never heard of such goings on.”
I felt like a different species who never took part in an important part of the evolutionary cycle. These California dudes spent their time surfing, watching girls on the beach, and looking at each other saying, “For sure, for sure.”
We Hoosiers spent our young lives in October soaping, corning and stickin’ horns… for at least an entire week of October.
First we prepared. At least a week or two before the “halloweening” started, we would go out in the corn fields and shuck some corn. Our hands would not only be cold, but raw. Yeah, It was usually cold in Indiana in late October, maybe even snowy cold. We would also steal soap out of our bathrooms. Lastly we would hide a few tree branches between twelve and eighteen inches long and at least an inch in diameter. Strong, but supple.
There was a thing called, “Trick or Treat.” We didn’t care about treats. We were into tricks, mean tricks.
We had rules. We never soaped our friends’ or families’ windows. It was a great time to get back at the old man who yelled at us, a few teachers, and especially the chief of police who lived across the street. We were probably the reason that security lights were invented. Soaping windows was quiet. If your car was not in the garage, it would have soap on the windows in the morning. Never bad words. Never anything but lines, dashes, numbers, letters, etc. We had rules.
The “corning” was a loud thing. Depending on the number of guys out “halloweening” we would each take a window. Usually there were four or five of us. It also required having fast legs in a pair of Converse Tennies. Let me use another visual aid for you younger readers.
We needed the “house to be corned” to have an alley to run down. We would stand out on the side-walk, each pitching hand filled with corn and in unison throw the corn at our chosen window. And then run like hell down the alley. I had my house “corned” when I was old enough to have a house and it sounds like every window is being broken at the same time. No damage is done, but it is scary and a pretty mean thing to do. We tried to stay away from older folks. We had rules.
Back in the day, our car horns were not sounded by pushing a padded surface on top of an air bag. Air bags? Hell, we never even had seat belts.
No, they were normally a circular ring around the inside of your steering wheel.
Last visual aid.
So for you folks who want to return to those innocent days of the ‘50s, know that sometime this week some little rascals may be stickin’ your horn. I admit our rules broke down a little with this battery-draining trick.
No, people didn’t lock their car doors back then. Tch, tch, tch.